Monday, February 28, 2011

FVP Monday Night All-Star: Jennifer Lawrence

In celebration of last night's Oscar's, tonight's FVP All-Star is Academy Award Nominee Jennifer Lawrence. The 20 year Miss Lawrence was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in the film "Winter's Bone". The the Best Actress Nominee wowed 'em on the red carpet, where she was smoking hot in a sexy Calvin Klein red gown and jewelry provided by Chopard. She can be seen in the upcoming X-men prequel "X-men: First Class" in the role of Mystique. We have something else to look forward too.


Images from j-lawrence.com


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jeff Gordon Ends 66 Race Winless Streak In Phoenix

Jeff Gordon gets by Kyle Busch with 8 to go
Jeff Gordon snapped a 66 race winless streak Sunday with his first win in nearly two years. Gordon led the most laps en route to his 83rd career win. Gordon spoiled the weekend sweep of Kyle Busch, who had won the NCWTS and the NNS earlier in the weekend.

Gordon caught Rowdy with nine laps to go, as the two headed into turn three. Gordon moved low on the inside of Busch, who slid up just a bit. As the two headed into turn four, Gordon gave Rowdy a nudge, allowing him to draw along side as the racers crossed the start finish line.

Gordon had a fender lead into turn one with eight to go, and the two drivers got together, forcing the #18 Camry of Busch out of his racing line, and allowing Gordon to complete the pass and sail on to the win.

"He was gaining on me really good and I knew he was going to get to me eventually and this place is so flat and it's one groove that we all run the bottom." Busch said. "He got so tucked up behind me on three and four, he got me loose and I could not put the gas down. I mean, he was so far up underneath me that I could not go forward. So I was loose, and he was just waiting for the exit of the turn to turn underneath me and get alongside of me and then once we got down into turn one, we both drove off in there pretty deep and I had enough where I could slow down and kind of run on what I thought would be the second lane. And he just drifted up a little bit into me and knocked me out of the way. But it don't matter. He had a fast enough car. He could have done that, either way, would he have won if he didn't do it, if he did do it. It has nothing to do with how he won."

Jeff Gordon talked about the final pass. "I drove in deep into 1 and got to him and I could tell he was having to really get after it right then; and then I got underneath him and got off of 4 and I knew coming down the front straightaway that he was going to kind of pinch me down into 1 and he did and I got a little loose. Then I just drifted up the track and I didn’t know what was going to happen at that moment but when they said we were ‘clear’ then I just went. We had a great car and catching him was one thing and passing him was going to be a whole lot different deal. And it worked out.”

The 24 had to get by a series of early wrecks, not the least of which was a 13-car pileup on the backstretch that blocked the track with torn up equipment and brought out the red flag on Lap 67.

Slight contact between Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford and Brian Vickers’ #83 Toyota cut Vickers’ left rear tire. Vickers' lost control of his ride, starting a wild wreck that gathered the cars of Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, David Reutimann, Casey Mears, Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland, Bobby Labonte, Regan Smith, Andy Lally and Robby Gordon.


Gordon celebrates win # 83

"We’re all better racecar drivers than this," a clearly irritated Bowyer said after the incident. "It’s pretty embarrassing, to be honest with you."

The wreck occurred eight laps after contact between #18 Busch and the #99 Ford of polesitter Carl Edwards. The contact sent points leader Edwards into the Turn 3 wall. Edwards was able to return to the race but finished 28th, 52 laps back.

"I’m not exactly sure what happened," Edwards said. "I’ll have to talk to Kyle about it. I thought at first he was just frustrated and he turned left to get back in line and he didn’t know I was there. But I watched the tape, and I think he really did get loose. He hit me hard, and I was left with nothing."

Busch acknowledged responsibility for the wreck, saying repeatedly he owed an apology to Edwards. Busch recapped "He was mad, for sure, and he was frustrated, definitely. You can see that entirely out there the whole rest of the race; any time I got within five car lengths of his rear bumper he would start checking up early, getting into the corners and slowing down and getting more space between me and the other guys. Finally after about 20 laps of that, he let me go. It was weird. He just...he was playing. You know, it didn't cost me anything at the end of the day so, it didn't hurt anything on our side, you know, but again, from what happened with us yesterday and how we raced each other, I thought that was great. And I made a mistake today. I've admitted that, time over again and again. Hopefully we can get past this and go on. I know it's early in the year and all that stuff, but it doesn't matter even if was late in the year. It was just a mistake on my part."

Photo Credit: The pass, Tom Pennington/Getty Images, Gordon : Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NFL Labor Mediator Issues Statement

There's been zip for news from the NFL or the NFLPA regarding the labor negotiations. Today, George Cohen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service issused a statement regarding the negotiations:
One week ago, the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association accepted the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service’s invitation to conduct their continuing negotiations under my auspices, together with Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh. Because of the number and importance of the unresolved issues, I recommended and the parties agreed to a bargaining schedule commencing last Friday and continuing for seven consecutive days, through today.

Our time together has been devoted to establishing an atmosphere conducive to meaningful negotiations and, of course, matters of process and substance. I can report that throughout this extensive period the parties engaged in highly focused, constructive dialogue concerning a host of issues covering both economics and player-related conditions. The tenor of the across-the table discussions reflected a noteworthy level of mutual respect even in the face of strongly held competing positions. The parties met both in full committee and in subcommittees where discrete, technical issues lent themselves to smaller groups.

At bottom, some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties. Nonetheless, I recommended and the parties have agreed to resume the mediation process in my office commencing next Tuesday (March 1). During the intervening weekend, the parties have been asked by us to assess their current positions on those outstanding issues.

I have shared the terms of this release with the parties, and they have authorized me to represent that it accurately reflects the course of mediation to date.

Due to the extraordinary sensitivity of these ongoing negotiations, the FMCS will refrain from any public comment while the mediation process continues and, further, I have requested and the parties have agreed to do likewise.

2011 INDYCAR Finale To Be Held In Vegas

INDYCAR, announced that the 2011 season will culminate with the crowning of its champions on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The weekend event, known as the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships, will be held at the 1.5-mile oval known for producing side-by-side racing and exciting finishes that are the hallmark of the nation's #1 open wheel series.

INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard also announced that fans purchasing a ticket to any IZOD IndyCar Series race during the 2011 season are eligible to receive a complimentary ticket to the championship race. Full details for the complimentary ticket promotion will be announced March 1 on indycar.com and 866-INDYCAR.

Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay
hang out with some Vegas showgirls as INDYCAR
announced the 2011 finale schedule.
FVP adressed the problems with INDYCAR's attendance at the season finale at Homestead in 2010. It's been over a decade since INDYCAR has come to Vegas, and even then, there were attendance problems then as well. CEO Randy Bernard spoke on this subject when he said "Let me tell you, the last time they were here is was during the split; and I promise you, if the NBA split tomorrow, they would have the same problems; or if the NFL split they would have problems. I think it's very important that it's reunified. This isn't Champ Car. It's not CART. It's not IRL. It's INDYCAR, and this is the IZOD IndyCar Series and it's about the world's best. That's what we have to deliver."

Bernard added "In our State of INDYCAR, we talked about, with our fans, entertainment, giving our fans a great experience; entertainment, competition and value, and we hit on every one of those. I mean, entertainment, you can't get any better than Vegas. Competition, it's going to be some fantastic racing as you heard today from all of the drivers out here, as well as value. We want to make sure that we thank our fans. The economy is great right now and by offering a free ticket to anyone that goes to another event we think gives our fans great value."

The IZOD IndyCar Series competed at Las Vegas from 1996 to 2000, and Champ Car competed at the facility in 2004 and '05. Drivers who have visited Victory Lane at the track include Al Unser Jr., Sam Schmidt, Arie Luyendyk and Sebastien Bourdais.

Bernard also announced a $5 million challenge to any professional race car driver not competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series for the season finale race, in an attempt to reinforce the series' position that its drivers are the best of the best.

"We showcase our drivers as being the very best, fastest and most versatile in the world," he said, "and we are putting our money where our mouth is. If any race car driver in the world outside of the IZOD IndyCar Series can win the Vegas race, we will give you $5 million. We will accept five entries for this challenge, with entrants being determined by mid-summer."

If the series can find a way to get drivers from other series involved, then they might have something to crow about. The feeling here is it will be difficult to get top shelf talent to step into a part time ride that will have a shot at winning. Not much of a gamble by Bernard and his associates, but they credit credit for trying something new that everyone hopes will generate some buzz.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daytona 500 Champ Trevor Bayne: "God isn't going to give me any more than I can handle."

Daytona 500 Champion Trevor Bayne held a teleconference today. It's clear that the 20 year old newly minted celebrity is a little in awe of his and his team's accomplishment this past Sunday. "I haven't had a lot of time to let it sink in yet. We've been go, go, go." Bayne said. "As soon as I get 10 seconds to slow down and it starts to hit me, it's crazy. I never knew it would be this big. I knew the 500 was huge and it's been my dream since I was five years old. But, man, this is a really cool deal that I'm getting to experience."

Trevor Bayne talks live to ESPN's SportsCenter
in front of his No. 21 Ford  Monday at Daytona
Bayne continued "I always wondered what it was that separated the Daytona 500 from all the other races, why it was that it meant so much to Mark Martin that he hadn't won one yet, or when Dale, Sr., finally got his win, what was that defining factor. Now I'm starting to see it. The Daytona 500 is a big deal. It's so cool to win it. I feel so blessed, man. To have that good of a racecar, that I was in the position to be able to make the moves I made, to be guided, I can't describe how crazy it is that God surrounded me with these quality people, quality equipment, made it come together that perfect in our first-ever attempt."

On one hand, the kid gushes how shocked he was. Then he rolls out a level of maturity that is well beyond his 20 years. Last fall, Bayne was released from Waltrip Racing. He speaks with humility as he allows God's will to shape his destiny. Bayne recaps "You know, before this ever happened, I had a meeting with some of the people that are running my business stuff, running my financial and everything. My dad was involved. We sat down and we said, What is the goal of Trevor Bayne as a company, as a person, as anything? I told them, I said, The goal, this is going to sound weird, but it's not to be the best racecar driver, the most marketable, the most popular, but it's to build a platform and let God use us on the platform that He's building, which might require me to become the best racecar driver or be the most marketable or most popular, whatever it is. I just want to stand on the platform He's putting under me. That's our goal. If that's our goal, our highs and lows are going to be a lot more manageable."

Doesn't sound like a 20 year old kid. There's more. In this TMZ age, celebrity is thrust upon many people who aren't prepared to handle it. They are under the microscope, where every move is scrutinized and analyzed. Bayne talked about managing this new attention. "Well, I think that can be good and bad both ways. That's where I have to be true to who Trevor Bayne is. I don't want to have anything to hide. I want to be as public as possible and truthful as possible and be the same person I am in the media as I am away from it. I've tried to do that, try to stay humble through it all."

Bayne continued  "It is crazy how much attention has been drawn to this. I never expected it. I'm so thankful for the fact that this might help our race teams be able to find partners to go on these racecars. I had that solid white suit on for the Roush Fenway Nationwide car. That thing was not looking good. I hope this draws some more interest. You're right, it does draw some attention that might be a lot to handle, but I know that God is not going to give me more than I can handle. Might be too much for Trevor Bayne to handle, but never too much for Him to handle. There's going to be days before I made this decision to run for the Wood Brothers in Cup this year, I prayed whatever would happen would be something that would draw me closer to Him. I thought it would be because of struggles, because it would be tough. Now it's because of the success. So just have to manage the mountaintops, know there might be bad days ahead, but be excited when we do get them because this is really good for the sport and we're really excited about everything."

Heavy stuff from a 20 year old. We haven't heard the last from this young man.

Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton Talk About Engine Failures at Daytona

Heading into the premier event in NASCAR, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton were considered favorites at the Daytona 500. Both drivers left Daytona well back in the points, as both suffered rare engine failures. The teams look to regroup as NASCAR begins the long grind of the 2011 season.

Harick looks to improve this weekend at Phoenix.
Harvick's #29 Bud Chevy may have been the odds on favorite, with two wins at Daytona. His team suffered their first engine failure since September 2006 at Dover. Happy spoke of the problem, which may have been due to the rule changes NASCAR mandated. "Obviously, you come to the first race of the year and to have that happen right off the bat is just something you don't really want to have happen and it's just one of those things. We go years and years without engine failures and they (Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines) do a great job on that. So, it happens. The oil temperature was 10 - 15 degrees more than what we had been (running). I pulled out from behind the No. 17 (Matt Kenseth) when I felt like I got to the point where I needed to pull out, and the bottom fell out of it. I hate it for everybody on this Budweiser Chevrolet team and everybody from Jimmy Johns and Budweiser. It's a tough way to start the year, but man, we never blow motors. Everybody at ECR does a great job."

Burton agreed with Harvick's assessment, that the engine temperatures may have led to the power plants expiration. "We are asking a lot out of the engines here for sure. These are tough situations. To run at all, you have to run them 240 (degrees) or so and that may be a little more than we need to be running. We thought we were well within our limits, but maybe not. But listen, I'm proud of everybody. This whole Cat Racing team busted their butt to come down here and put their best foot forward. We ran well all week and I am proud of everybody. I'm disappointed - exceptionally disappointed. But, I'm not going to hang my head. The effort was too good to be disappointed about."

RCR looks to improve their luck heading into the first week of the "real season", at Phoenix this Sunday. Both drivers have a pair of wins in the desert, and the each hope to break the tie among the RCR drivers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

FVP Monday Night All Star: Ana

Hey gang! Tonight we bring you the lovely Ana, from the Girls of Brazil Calender. Ana sure looks great on the beaches of Brazil. Who's ready to book a flight? If not, there's more of her here on the GoB website, and here on the facebook page.




Hot stuff on FVP:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Who?? Trevor Bayne Survives The Demolition Derby And Takes The Daytona 500

A day after his birthday, Trevor Bayne outwit, outdrove, and outlasted NASCAR's best, as the 20 year old driver notched his first win in Sunday's Daytona 500. In a great race that featured a record 74 lead changes among a record 24 drivers, with a record 22 cautions, it was Bayne, making his second Sprint Cup start, who took the legendary Wood Brothers #21 to victory lane.

Trevor Bayne celebrates his first career win at
the Daytona 500
35 years to the day since their last Daytona 500 victory, Eddie and Leonard Wood spoke of the emotions of the moment. "Hey, man, it hasn't really sunk in yet. You know, we struggled so much in the past couple years just to make the Daytona 500, much less win it. It's so special. So many people that's responsible for this that, you know, it's just unbelievable we're sitting here." Eddie Wood said. "Trevor Bayne did such a good job. To be 20 years old and go out there and go fender to fender with all these guys. He's got the composure and savvy of the a veteran. Now he's a Daytona 500 winner. I'm just so happy for him. I'm happy for my dad. But, anyway, just so much happened in the last 10 laps in my head. I walked in Victory Lane with Richard Petty and Edsel Ford and my dad. I don't know how much better that can get."

Leonard Wood echoed his brother's sentiment. "We're so tickled to be here. Ford Motor Company stood behind us for 60 years now, 61 to be exact. It's just unbelievable that we could keep the team, our dad and Leonard have won in seven decades now. So proud of that. Like I said, we've been Ford all of our entire racing. To be a part of NASCAR, I mean, like I say, this is the greatest feeling that you can have." Leonard continued the history lesson "I was part of the '76 win with Pearson. I think Eddie was here with Foyt in '72. Trevor did such a great job. What's your biggest win? Well, this is the top of the stack right now."

Driving the #21, painted in the classic red and white scheme, Bayne gave the Wood Brothers team their first victory since Elliott Sadler in 2001. "If I tried to put it into words, I wouldn't be doing it any justice, that's for sure." NASCAR's newest first time winner said. "Man, I'll tell you what, I couldn't ask to be sitting up here with any better guys than these three up here. Then Glen and Leonard who laid the foundation for these things. They gave me a rocket ship that definitely did me a lot of justice today. Anybody I hooked up with, I mean, it was headed to the front. To get this win, it's my first win in NASCAR, period, in any of the top three series, my first Sprint Cup win, our second ever race, I mean, that's setting the standard, I'd say that for sure."

The race featured two green/white/checkered finishes. The first one came with four laps to go, after Regan Smith opened up a gap on drafting partner Kurt Busch. The yellow double deuce, receiving a push from Tony Stewart, slammed into the back of Smith's #78 Chevy, turning him into Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin.

At the drop of the green flag, leader David Reagan, starting on the outside, dropped to the inside, ahead of Bayne, before crossing the start/finish line. Reagan was black flagged as a result of the infraction. His aggressive move left drafting partner Tony Stewart alone on the outside lane as the racers headed into turn one.

Smoke attempted to tuck in behind Bayne, but had lost momentum due to the lack of a drafting partner. He was run over by the #7 of Robby Gordon, who was being pushed by the #34 of eventual third place finisher Dave Gilliland. Gordon tried to stay off the #14 of Stewart, but was unable to do so.

Gordon came off turn two low, under the yellow line as he made an great effort to save his #7 Dodge. Gordon saves the car, put pulls up into traffic, making the back straight an unpassable five wide. As racers moved over to let Gordon in, A.J. Allmendinger got into Newman, Newman collected Martin Truex Jr., and the two went into the wall. Dale Earnahrdt Jr., who had just pitted for a flat tire, spun in an effort to avoid the incident.

On the second attempt at a green/white/checkered/flag finish at Daytona International Speedway, Bayne led Bobby Labonte to the white flag, followed by Kurt Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya. Coming down the back straight, Carl Edwards and David Gilliland had great momentum, and Edwards may have had enought to get by the rookie Bayne. It was Bayne who made a veteran move, protecting the bottom, moving down to block Edwards and hold on for the win, by a margin of .110.

"I'm here to win just like they are." The 2011 Daytona 500 Champion said. "I'm just glad we didn't get turned on that deal. Might have been like the '76 race and we might have been sideways crossing the finish line torn up, maybe first. No, like I said, Bobby Labonte was an awesome pusher. I pulled down, it was like perfect times. God definitely had a plan for that. I pulled down, I mean, it just hooked up perfect. Like Carl said, I couldn't get to you. I got to you and you just pulled back away."

The Big One at lap 29
The race did have the obligatory "big one", at lap 29. The wreck collected #5 Mark Martin, #16 Greg Biffle, #87 Joe Nemechek, #48 Jimmie Johnson, #9 Kasey Kahne, #71 Andy Lally, #38 Travis Kvapil, #00 David Reutimann, #92 Brian Keselowski, #83 Brian Vickers, #17 Matt Kenseth, #24 Jeff Gordon, #43 A.J. Allmendinger and #15 Michael Waltrip. Jeff Gordon commented on the wreck. "It is such a bummer. We had such a fast race car, such a great race team. You have to take what you can from this. The most disappointing thing is we don’t have a shot at winning the Daytona 500. We prepared so long and hard, these guys worked so hard and built me such a great race car. So that is the bummer." Gordon ended up 28th.

  • Bayne is the youngest Daytona 500 winner in history (20 years, one day).
  • This is team owner Wood Brothers' fifth Daytona 500 victory, the last coming in 1976 with David Pearson. It is their 98th series win overall.
  • Bayne is the seventh driver to earn his first points win in the Daytona 500 (Tiny Lund, 1963; Mario Andretti, 1967; Pete Hamilton, 1970; Derrike Cope, 1990; Sterling Marlin, 1994; Michael Waltrip, 2001).
  • There were track records in lead changes (74), leaders (22) and cautions (16).
  • The victory is Ford's 600th win.
  • Carl Edwards (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in 13 races at Daytona International Speedway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2011.
  • David Gilliland (third) posted his second top-10 finish in six races at Daytona International Speedway.
  • Because Bayne has chosen to earn championship points in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Carl Edwards now leads the points standings by one point over David Gilliland.
 Photo Credit : Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR,  Big One:  John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Friday, February 18, 2011

NFL and NFLPA Issue Joint Statement: Nothing to See Here

From NFLLabor.com:

“George Cohen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, has requested, and both sides have agreed, that the NFL Players Association and the NFL refrain from making any public comments about any aspect of the mediation process. The process began today under the direction of Mr. Cohen.”

So, they issued a statement to say that they won't be issuing a statement. Shades of Leslie Nielsen "Nothing to see here." At least they agree that whatever they are talking about, they aren't talking to us about it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton Win Duels At Daytona As The Field Is Set For Daytona 500

Kurt Busch, in the "yellow double deuce", backed up his Bud Shootout win, taking the first Gatorade 150 at Daytona today. Busch, driver of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, will move to the pole position, as pole sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrecked his primary car in Wednesday's practice. Dale Jr. will start at the rear of the field.
Teams go three wide in the second Duel.
It’s the Double Deuce power right now,” Busch said, who changed sponsors from Miller Lite to Shell/Pennzoil and car number from 2 to 22 this year. “Great ride through these Speedweeks, being in the right place at the right time.
 
In the second Duel, Jeff Burton took his #31 Caterpillar Chevy to Victory Lane, in a photo finish over teammate Clint Bowyer. Burton spoke of the advantage of having a teammate as draft partner. “It’s an advantage to have a teammate, there’s no question about it,” Burton said. “Everybody can see that. The difficult part is getting with a teammate.


Burton continued “We worked diligently to make sure we were with a teammate. We tried very hard to be with Clint. Everywhere he went, I went. Everywhere I went, he went. (Crew chief) Todd (Berrier) said it best: It’s a shame there wasn’t room in victory lane for both cars.”


Both races featured the same two car drafts that NASCAR tried to avoid, making rule changes to the nose, the "pop-off" valve, and smaller restrictor plate. Jeff Burton talked about the two car drafts. "Well, when it's just two of you and there's nothing going on, it's not all that hard. You can be more effective if you're doing it right than if you're not doing it right. There's no question about that. On the other hand, when stuff starts happening, it starts happening quick. The wrecks we saw today, several of them were just because you get such a big run, sometimes there's nowhere to go. The guy that's leading the tandem, he can see it, but the guy behind him can't see it. You can drag the brakes, do whatever you want, but when there's 3,500 pounds pushing you, you're not going a slow it down all that quickly. You can get into stuff that you didn't mean to get into."


Martin leads the field to the green in Duel #1
Closing speed is an issue. Burton detailed this point further. "It's very hard. You got to really be looking ahead. You got to really be thinking about where am I going to go, when am I going to go there. I know one time, I was on the radio, I said, I'm going in the middle. Okay, go in the middle. Got to stop, got to stop. Okay, go. It was all in one second. Happening quicker than I could explain it. When you're catching somebody five miles an hour faster than they're running, they're side-by-side, there's times there's not going to be anywhere to go. It's harder than you think."


Other drivers weighed in on the two by two draft. "I've never experienced anything like what these guys, what you have to do today to make this work. "Former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott said. "You know, when I was here testing, I tried to do this with Jeff Gordon, and it was at the very end of the last day. I couldn't figure it out. We only did it for just a short number of laps. I couldn't help him and he couldn't help me. We sat down understand a talked about it. I came back."

JJ Yeley was one of the drivers who needed to race his way in to the Daytona 500, which he did in the first Duel. Yeley spoke about the unique drafting. "I think it really comes down to finding a partner that's going to stay with you the entire race. You can't afford to get caught out. There's not going to be a lot of cautions, a lot of green-flag stops. Trying to find that partner that wants to stay with you as well as the timing of making your pit stop to where you don't end a straightaway separated because you lose so much time running by yourself or trying to get back to your partner."

"At the end of the day, it's going to be a matter of, like you said, guys working on the switch because you can't afford to lose a half a straightaway of trying to get locked back in because it's another 10 miles an hour and that time you're losing as the next group is catching you." Yeley said. "It's going to be interesting to see. You double the field, put 43 cars out there, at that rate, there's going to be one left out by himself."

The field is set for the Daytona 500. Those who didn’t make the cut and will be forced to watch the Daytona 500 from the sidelines are Derrike Cope, Kevin Conway, Todd Bodine, Michael McDowell and Casey Mears.



Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR, Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR


New Restrictor Plate At Daytona Announed, Earnhardt Jr. Wrecks, Other Wednesday NASCAR Notes

 NASCAR announced Wednesday changes to the restrictor plate for the Daytona 500. Sprint Cup teams will now be mandated to use a 57/64 inch restrictor plate for the Gatorade Duels and Sunday's main event.  The 1/64" plate replaces the smaller 29/32nd inch plate that was being used. This will reduce horsepower 12-13 hp and slow the cars down a bit, further breaking up the two car drafts teams implemented in the Bud Shootout.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. inspects the damaged #88 Wednesday
Also Wednesday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrecked his pole sitting car, forcing the #88 team to go to a backup. This will be the same car the #88 team used at Talledega in October, chassis # 88-576 for those keeping score. Dale Jr. assessed what he saw from behind the wheel. "The guys on the inside looked like they were going to stay low and then they started kind of creeping up and giving Jimmie (Johnson), and they gave me the impression they were going to be closing the hole on the outside. So Jimmie lifted. And he about wrecked and I got off the gas and there were a couple of guys coming behind me (Martin) Truex, and a couple other guys and (we) just didn’t have a chance."

Earnhardt Jr. was asked what was said in his chat with Martin Truex Jr., who was also involved. “That he was sorry for running into the back of me. And he didn’t have anywhere to go; and I’m sure he didn’t." NASCAR's most popular driver said. "We were all off the gas pretty hard right there for those guys to pull up the race track there. I don’t even know if we would have room. We might have had room on the outside to get through, but it was real tight. They moved up off the bottom into the middle of the race track at least, from what I could tell and what I can remember, and just give us the impression we were going to need to check-up.  They keep slowing the cars down and it makes a car drafting normally much slower, and now the closing rate on the two-car pack is even faster; and I mean it’s just hard. It’s just real hard. Hopefully there’s no more accidents this rest of the week. We can all; we’re all kind of getting the hang of it, but the guys that aren’t, in a two-car pack, need to be aware that those guys are going to come flying up on them faster than they think. And you’ve just got to keep that in mind and hold your line.”

The #88 will go to the rear of the field on Sunday, as mandated by the rules. Truex will also go to a backup car. Truex will start at the rear of the field in today's Duels, but he will be allowed to started from whatever qualifying position he attains today. Junior will start today and Sunday at the rear of the field, as his position was already locked in.

Casey Mears blew an engine an will start at the back of his Duel qualifying race today, as his team installed a new engine. Jimmie Johnson also made an engine change, and will start at the back in today's Duels.

Video of the wreck below.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Goodell's Op-Ed Piece

Here's the Op-Ed piece that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell posted regarding the labor situation. Goodell's piece is in italics:

THE TIME HAS COME TO MAKE A DEAL
By Roger Goodell
One of the best NFL seasons in history is now over. We salute NFL players for their extraordinary talent and we deeply appreciate the tremendous support of the fans.

The hard work to secure the next NFL season must now accelerate in earnest. We are just weeks from the expiration of our collective bargaining agreement. There has been enough rhetoric, litigation and other efforts beyond the negotiating table. It is time for serious negotiations.

The current agreement expires on March 4, and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of reaching agreement by then. If we as a league — the teams and players’ union — fail to fulfill our shared responsibility to the fans and game, everyone will be worse off — players, teams and fans — starting in March.

This is an opportunity to create a better future for the NFL, to improve the game for our fans, and to expand the economic benefits for the players and teams.

Staying with the status quo is not an option. The world has changed for everyone, including the NFL and our fans. We must get better in everything we do.

The union has repeatedly said that it hasn’t asked for anything more and literally wants to continue playing under the existing agreement. That clearly indicates the deal has moved too far in favor of one side. Even the union’s president knows this — as he said on national radio on January 27: “I think what really happened is in 2006 we got such a great deal. I mean, the players got a good deal and the owners felt they got it handed to them.”

We need an agreement that both sides can live with and obtain what they need, not simply what they want.

Today’s collective bargain agreement does not work as it should from the standpoint of the teams. If needed adjustments are made, the NFL will be better for everyone. The first step is making sure a new collective bargaining agreement is more balanced and supports innovation and growth.
The NFL clubs want to move forward, improve the system, and secure the future of the game for the benefit of players, fans and teams.

The status quo means no rookie wage scale and the continuation of outrageous sums paid to many unproven rookies. In 2009, for example, NFL clubs contracted $1.2 billion to 256 drafted rookies with $585 million guaranteed before they had stepped on an NFL field. Instead, we will shift significant parts of that money to proven veterans and retired players.

The status quo means 16 regular-season and four preseason games — even though fans have rejected and dismissed four preseason games at every opportunity. We need to deliver more value to our fans by giving them more of what they want at responsible prices. This can be achieved if we work together and focus on more ways to make the game safer and reduce unnecessary contact during the season and in the off-season.

The status quo means failing to recognize the many costs of financing, building, maintaining and operating stadiums. We need new stadiums in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego; and the ability for more league investment in new technology to improve service to fans in stadiums and at home.

The status quo means players continuing to keep 60 percent of available revenue, in good years or bad, no matter how the national economy or the economics of the league have changed. From 2001 to 2009, player compensation doubled and the teams committed a total of $34 billion to player costs. The NFL is healthy in many respects, but we do not have a healthy business model that can sustain growth.

Companies with far more revenue than the NFL have gone bankrupt because they mismanaged their costs and failed to address their problems before they became a crisis. The NFL has a track record over many decades of making good decisions that have led to unprecedented popularity. Negotiating a fair agreement will result in billions in pay and benefits to current players, improved benefits for retired players, and a sustainable business model for our teams.

The current deal does not secure the best possible future for the game, players, clubs and fans. The next few weeks must be used to negotiate with intensity and purpose so we can reach a fair agreement by March 4. If both sides compromise and give a little, everyone will get a lot, especially the fans.

With statements like "We need an agreement that both sides can live with and obtain what they need, not simply what they want", it appears to this fan that Mr. Goodell is clearly in the owners boat. He is following the game plan of Bud Selig, interested in the all mighty buck, and not the good of the game. Goodell talks about the rookie wage scale (which they need to implement), as if it's the player's fault. No one put a gun to the owners heads to pay unproven players big money. Goodell talks about expanding the season, because he admits the owners have failed at separating the fan base from their money for pre-season games. The fans, however, are not clamoring for more games. The 18 game schedule will result in more players on the rosters, further diluting the quality of the game. Nowhere does he address player pensions or player health, a hot button this season. He actually uses the word "bankrupt", in a intimation of forthcoming economic hardships teams will face the the status quo is kept. The only way to show this as true is to have the owners open the books, which they have been reticent to do.

It looks to this fan that the NFL is digging in and is prepared to go dark on March 4. It's a shame, because the NFL has done a great job as staying relevant year round, with the combine, draft and OTA's in the off-season to whet fans appetite. The fans will be the one's who lose in the end. Look for the NCAA's ratings to go up this fall if the two sides cannot get along.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stars of Transformers: Dark of the Moon to Serve As Grand Marshals for the Daytona 500

The stars of “TRANSFORMERS: Dark of the Moon”– Josh Duhamel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and director Michael Bay – will serve as the Grand Marshals for 53rd running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

Rosie Huntington-Whitely will be one
of the Grand Marshals at
the Daytona 500 this Sunday

“We’re honored to have the stars and director from this blockbuster film franchise “TRANSFORMERS: Dark of the Moon” serve as Grand Marshals of ‘The Great American Race,’” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said.  “As an added bonus for our fans, three cars from the movie will be on location during Speedweeks and we all look forward to watching them lead the field for the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 on the newly paved racing surface.”

Josh Duhamel's filmography includes the Transformers franchise, where he was cast in the role of Maj. William Lennox. He's also appeared on television, in "Las Vegas", "Crossing Jordan", and "All My Children".

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has been tabbed as replacement for Megan Fox in the toy-turned-popcorn-movie franchise. RHW has been know thus far as being a Victoria's Secret model. Look for her to parlay this role into stardom, much like her predecessor Fox did.

Historical Notes From Daytona

NASCAR's season opening event is this Sunday. Here's some historical note of interest from the Super Bowl of auto racing.

•34 drivers have won a Daytona 500.
•Eight drivers have won more than one Daytona 500, led by Richard Petty, with seven victories.
•The eight drivers who have won the Daytona 500 more than once: Richard Petty (seven), Cale Yarborough (four), Bobby Allison (three), Dale Jarrett (three), Jeff Gordon (three), Bill Elliott (two), Sterling Marlin (two) and Michael Waltrip (two).
•Fred Lorenzen posted a top-10 finish in eight of his nine Daytona 500s, the best percentage of drivers who have competed in more than two Daytona 500s.
•Dale Earnhardt finished in the top 10 in 16 of his 23 Daytona 500s.
•Dale Earnhardt had 12 top fives in the Daytona 500, more than any other driver.
•Only 12 drivers have an average finish of 10th or better in the Daytona 500, five of those competed in the Daytona 500 only once.       
•Clint Bowyer has an 11.2 average finish in five appearances, the best of the active drivers who have competed in more than one Daytona 500.
•Other than Lee Petty, who won the inaugural Daytona 500, no driver has ever won in his first appearance.
•28 of the 34 drivers who have won, participated in at least two Daytona 500s before visiting Victory Lane.
•Dale Earnhardt competed 19 times before winning his only Daytona 500 (1998), the longest span of any of the 34 race winners.
•Six drivers made 10 or more attempts before their first Daytona 500 victory: Dale Earnhardt (19), Buddy Baker (18), Darrell Waltrip (16), Bobby Allison (14), Michael Waltrip (14) and Sterling Marlin 12).
•The most Daytona 500s all-time without a victory was Dave Marcis (33 races).
•Mark Martin (26) leads active drivers without a victory.
•Six drivers posted their career-first victory with a win in the Daytona 500: Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994) and Michael Waltrip (2001).
•Three other drivers posted their career-first victory in (point-paying) qualifying races: Johnny Rutherford (1963), Bobby Isaac (1964) and Earl Balmer (1966).
•A driver has won back-to-back Daytona 500s three times. Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95).
•Kevin Harvick’s 0.020-second margin of victory over Mark Martin in the 2007 Daytona 500 is the 10th-closest overall since the advent of electronic timing in 1993, and the closest in a Daytona 500.
•26 of the 52 Daytona 500s have been won from a top-five starting position.
•Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500 from the 39th starting position in 2009, the deepest a race winner has started.
•Nine have been won from the pole. The last to do so was Dale Jarrett, in 2000.
•16 Daytona 500s have been won from the front row.

NASCAR Makes Rule Changes For Daytona 500

After Saturday night's Bud Shootout, NASCAR has mandated some changes in an effort to break up the two car drafts and slow down speeds, which topped out at 206 MPH. NASCAR is requiring pressure relief valves on each car that reduce the maximum water temperature the engine can tolerate before it starts to throw off water. This will reduce water temperatures from the 275-degree range to 235-240 degrees. This will also prevent one car from pushing another lap after lap, as was the case Saturday night.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes the pole for the 2011 Daytona 500
NASCAR also is mandating teams to reduce the maximum grille openings of the cars to 50 square inches. This is another move that will elevate engine temperatures more quickly and force the pushing car to seek out airflow to cool the engine compartment.

Steve Letart, crew chief of the pole sitting #88 driven by Dale Earnahrdt Jr., addressed the changes. "I think the first thing we'll do is we'll take all that information and feed it into our dynos. We have engines at home. We'll test our water systems and find out exactly what kind of criteria that will affect the car. We'll come down and decide." Letart said. "We're going to tiptoe into it. I think we have a lot of practice left. I think the opportunity to run, you can learn a lot with just a teammate, especially when it comes to cooling, the two-car push. So I think we have very experienced driver in the 48/8 building. We worked together a lot in January. We knew our references there. We worked together very good the other night pre-Bud Shootout. We knew what that reference was there. So when we get the rules, we'll apply them the best we can and come up with a very diligent plan for Wednesday, definitely not go into it blindfolded. We will go into it with a specific plan."

Outside pole qualifier Jeff Gordon also talked about the changes. "That just means you're going to have to figure out how to get some air to cool the car down, poke our nose out, back off a little bit. So as long as those bumpers line up and the airflow over the cars is the way it is, I don't think you're going to stop it."

FVP Monday Night All Star: Priscylla

Happy Valentine's Day, FVP readers. To help everyone celebrate, we've got the very lovely Priscylla from the Girls Of Brazil 2011 Calender. Looking at Priscylla on the beach, you can almost feel the beach sand between your toes. Or something like that. Follow Priscylla and her friends over on facebook, too.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kurt Busch Wins Bud Shootout, New Asphalt Changes The Game

Kurt Busch celebrates in Victory Lane at Daytona
Sporting a new number and colors, Kurt Busch, driving the Shell/Pennzoil #22, won Saturday night's Bud Shootout at Daytona. Busch was named the winner after Denny Hamlin was penalized for a yellow line violation on the final lap. Hamlin went below the inside yellow line in an effort to stay off leader Ryan Newman as Hamlin completed the pass on Newman. Hamlin's penalty dropped him to 12th in the running order.

Denny Hamlin's decision him the victory. He said he chose to be safe and stay off Newman, rather than force his position in a non points race. "That yellow line is there to protect us and the fans in the stands, and I just chose to take the safer route," Hamlin said. "A win in the Shootout is not worth sending the 39 (Newman) through the grandstands. For me, as fast as we’re running, if I got into his left rear, that car will go airborne."

Busch's win was his first in a restrictor plate race. Defending Daytona 500 champ Jamie McMurray finished second, followed by Newman, Jimmie Johnson, and Greg Biffle. The driver of the Yellow Double Deuce spoke of his night, and what to expect on Thursday's qualifying races, as well as Sunday's Daytona 500. "This was a perfect night." Busch said. "Things fell into place, fell into our hands and lady luck was on our side at the end. My plan was to break away the pack and to stay tucked up as the third place car behind those two, but it's amazing how the two cars are just -- you have to have two cars to stay hooked up. You cannot do three, you can't do four, five, it's just two cars, and you're going to see that all week long."

The two car draft was something new at Daytona. Normally, the restrictor plate track of Daytona and Talledega feature large packs of cars. The new racing surface at Daytona has increased speeds, and drivers found that two car drafts seemed to work best. "Two cars just hook up, and it seems like the air comes off the front car and clears that second car perfectly." Busch said. "If you have a third car, the air comes off that front car, lands onto the third car and that third car can't break through. That's my philosophy on it."

Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman also talked about the two car draft. Newman attempted to explain it, with McMurray offering comic relief.

RYAN NEWMAN: You want the technical answer? Sometimes you guys don't want that, so I'm asking. My perception of it is --

JAMIE McMURRAY: I can't wait. This is going to be really good.

RYAN NEWMAN: I can make some stuff up and you might believe me (Laughter.)

"The front car gets the clean air, the motor. The back car takes the air front off the front car's spoiler." Newman said. "Even though he gets the air taken out of his motor, he's still pushing the car in front of him and he's getting that help. If there was that third car, he's basically got not -- he doesn't have the air in the column to help propel him forward, so the front car has got the biggest motor, the second car is just helping push along, and the way the drag works out, whatever, you can -- even going through the corners you can just barely feel the car behind you kind of tap you sometimes. It's right there."

One of the concerns going forward this week will be the high speeds. The TV broadcast showed speeds of 206 MPH. Drivers speculated on any changes that NASCAR might bring this week in an effort to slow things down. "I think these cars have enough downforce, they've got the roof flaps and the safety equipment to protect the drivers, but obviously once we start getting over 200, we have to make sure that we keep these cars in the ballpark, and that's the main concern." Kurt Busch said. "If I had to throw something out there I would throw on bigger spoilers and a bigger plate that we can't go faster if we're getting 206."
A wreck at lap 28 involved six of the 24 cars.

McMurray shared his opinion as well. "I think if NASCAR decided they wanted to put a smaller plate on, there's not going to be anybody upset about that because you can't tell the difference and it's not going to make the racing any different if you make the runs you get at 199 or 206. You can't feel a difference, and it's not going to change anything for anyone."

There was a multicar crash on the backstretch on Lap 28. Contact from Regan Smith’s No. 78 Chevrolet turned Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Ford into Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevy and spun it into the outside wall. The chain-reaction crash also collected Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kevin Conway.

Teams take to the track today for pole qualifying. The top two positions will be decided this afternoon in the time trials. The remaining positions will be set on Thursday in the twin 150's.

Photo Credits: Busch: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR; wreck: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

Friday, February 11, 2011

Joey Logano Fastest in Practice As Teams Top 200 MPH At Daytona

Logano posted a speed of 203.087 in practice
 Joey Logano, driver of the Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing was fastest in final practice for the Bud Shootout, with a very fast time of 44.316, and a speed of 203.087. He was followed by Kyle Busch, Michael Waltrip, Bobby Labonte, and Greg Biffle. All of the cars in the top 10 in practice posted speeds in excess of 200 mph.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard / AMP Energy Chevrolet out of the Hendrick's Motorsports garage, posted the fastest time in the first practice for Saturday night's race, with a time of 45.031 and a speed of 199.862. Junior was followed on the speed chartses Mark Martin (45.033 199.853) and Jimmie Johnson (45.082 199.636). Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Smoke Remembers The Late Dale Earnhardt

Smoke meets the media at Daytona
Next weekend will mark the tenth anniversary of the passing of the great Dale Earnhardt. Drivers and fans alike will not doubt reflect on his passing as the 2011 NASCAR season kicks off with the Daytona 500.

Tony Stewart was asked about what he remembers about Dale Earnhardt. His answer was not unlike what a lot of fans would say. "You just always think of that grin." Smoke said. "He always wore his sunglasses, so you could never see his eyes, but there was one thing that you saw and he had that grin. It wasn’t a full-blown smile, but he just kinda had this smirky grin. When you saw that, it made you smile."

Stewart expounded on his best Intimidator story. "It was the first Budweiser Shootout I won, and I did it by holding him off." Stewart said. "I was not physically drained, but I was emotionally drained after that race. Normally when you’re leading a restrictor-plate race, you’re wide open all the way around and you don’t have to do anything but just hold a smooth wheel. But when Dale Earnhardt was behind you, you had to do a lot of extra footwork by lifting and dragging the brake, because you knew how good he was at backing himself up and getting a run at you. When he was running second to you, you knew he was going to throw everything he had at you, and to be able to hold him off meant that not only did we do a good job of driving the car and leading the race, but we did a good job strategy-wise of being able to counter his moves. That’s what I remember the most."

Photo Credit: Daytona International Speedway

Three Time Bud Shootout Winner Tony Stewart Gets Ready For Saturday Night

The last NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion not named Jimmie Johnson heads to Daytona for this weekend's Bud Shootout with some reason for optimism. The 2005 champion Tony Stewart brings a successful resume to the Bud Shootout, being one of four drivers that have won the opening exhibition race back to back. (Ken Schrader, Neil Bonnett, Kevin Harvick the others). Smoke looks to parlay a good finish in The Shootout this weekend.


Smoke was asked what are the expectations in year three of ownership for his Stewart-Haas team? “Obviously, we want to go out and win a championship. That’s definitely on top of the list. But the hard thing is, it’s a very competitive sport, and you realize that even if we make our program five percent better, if everybody else makes theirs seven percent better, we’re still behind.  It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. We just hope the hard work all of our guys have put forth all winter long is going to be good enough this year and put us that much farther ahead than anybody else.”

Stewart spoke about the optimism of what his team can achieve in the 2011 season. "“I think I’m realistic. When you sit down at the end of the year and evaluate what you did right and what you did wrong, even the things you did right last year are not necessarily going to be right this year, and that’s the hard part. It’s really hard to gauge where you’re going to be and how successful you’re going to be until you get around everybody else. A perfect example of that was Richard Childress Racing. Two years ago they were really behind, and then last year they were ahead of the game and were a factor every week. Everybody is going to make their programs better. It’s about who makes the biggest gain and is that going to be enough to get you on top of the field?”

Stewart looks to be the first owner/driver to win the championship since Alan Kulwicki did it in 1992. He has one pole, three wins, five top-threes, seven top-fives, 12 top-10s in NASCAR's top series. His team brings a brand new chassis (no.14-634) to Daytona for the 500. Look for the Mobil1 Chevy to get off to a good start to the 2011 season. Before we start counting points next wekend, NASCARs top teams take to the new asphalt of Daytona Saturday night.


Photo Credit : Jerry Mackland/ Getty  Images for NASCAR

Possible Changes To Patriots Coaching Staff

WEEI and Shalise Maza Young (@shalisemyoung) are reporting that New England Patriots strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik will be leaving Foxboro, and is headed to Dallas.

SMY also tweets that defensive backs coach Corwin Brown will not be returning to New England in '11.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Edmonton Indy Race Back On

From the press release:

A new 2.256-mile, 13-turn race course, a reduction in some prime ticket prices and grandstands that will be closer to the action on the track were details for the Edmonton Indy unveiled at a news conference Feb. 8 in Edmonton, Alberta, for the fourth annual event at City Centre Airport on July 22-24 that features the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.

A twist is the change in the circuit location at the downtown airport following the closure of one of the two runways two weeks after the 2010 event. But, according to Tony Cotman - president of NZR Consulting Inc. - the move was welcome.

The circuit, which incorporates the closed East runway, will present challenges to drivers and action all around for spectators. There's a 90-degree first turn, hairpin turns in the northwestern (Turn 5) and southwestern (Turn 13) corners and two long straights.

"The other (1.96-mile, 14-turn) course one was good and fast initially but it was too hard to pass on," Cotman said. "One of the big things we needed to focus on with this course was how to make the show better, and I think we've achieved that. There were restrictions relating to the airport but I think we can create a much better actual racetrack for racing on and obviously that's what people come to see. It will be better."

Francois Dumontier, president of Octane Motorsports Events Inc., the new promoter of the event, announced that there will be six grandstands spread around the track with three price categories -- $230, $150 and $125 for the three-day pass.

The general admission price structure also has been revised to include tickets on a three-day or daily basis. Race day general admission has been reduced from 2010, and youngsters 11 and under will be admitted free in general admission with a ticket-buying adult. Paddock passes and pit walk alley passes also will be available. Additionally, a limited number of RV trackside stalls will be available for rent.

"We wished to simplify and clarify our offer to all," Dumontier said. "That is why we are implementing a system most major motorsport events customers in Canada are familiar with: all grandstand seats are offered on a three-day basis and each grandstand seat has its single price. Fans can choose to attend themselves the three days or share their tickets with friends or relatives.
"I must add, as we will soon reveal, that our 2011 racing program will be much busier on Friday and Saturday, and with all seats being much closer to the track they will be coveted."

See the layout here:
http://indycar.com:8080/var/assets/edmontonnew.pdf

Smell Of Racing Is In The Air In Daytona

Even though there's snow on the ground in the northeast, in Florida, there's a smell of fast gas and tire rubber in the air. There is activity in the NASCAR garages at Daytona, as teams prepare for the Bud Shootout Saturday night.
Newman looks to improve at Daytona

One of the teams looking to show some improvement is the #39 of Ryan Newman. In the five races Newman has run at Daytona since joining SHR in 2009, the team has never finished better than 19th and has three finishes of 26th or worse. In an effort to change the team's fortunes, the Wix Filters team is using chassis # 39-573. This chassis was brand new for last season’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona (Fla.)International Speedway, in which Newman finished a disappointing 19th. For Newman, it was a continuation of his bad-luck streak at restrictor-plate tracks with the No. 39 team. With just a handful of laps remaining in the non-points event, Newman was making his move and charging toward the front. Unfortunately, Newman’s efforts were halted when he was caught up in an eight-car accident in turn three. While Newman’s car never actually made contact with the outside wall, the No. 39 Chevrolet made plenty of contact with other cars and suffered heavy damage all around.

Following the Shootout, the car returned to Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), where it got a new body. In December, the car went to the GM Desert Proving grounds in Yuma, Ariz., where the team tested the 2011 front fascia in preparation for this weekend’s race at Daytona. After the Arizona test, the body was updated and wind-tunnel tested on Jan. 28.

Over at RCR, Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 334 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's Budweiser Shootout. This No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet was built in-house by the Gil Martin-led No. 29 team over the winter months and will make its first competitive laps around the speedway this weekend. Driving new colors, Harvick makes his seventh appearance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-opener during Speedweeks. In six Budweiser Shootout starts at the 2.5-mile tri-oval, Happy has claimed two victories, four top-five and five top-10 finishes. Harvick has enjoyed quite a bit of success in previous years at Daytona's big-dollar shootout, and this year he will contend for his third consecutive Budweiser Shootout title. Harvick won his first title in 2009, competing against the largest field ever recorded. A win in the 2010 event added another notch in Harvick's belt, making him the defending champ two years in a row.

Harvick debuts new colors this weekend


Harvick spoke of his team's goals "I think when you look at everything and where we are, racing for the championship is really what it's all about. We want to win a championship trophy. Coming so close last year, I think we learned a lot, from the mind set, to the expectation level that you need to set for yourself, to the preparation that goes into everything for those last 10 weeks. It's very important to be able to maintain that level of competitiveness throughout those last 10 weeks. We know what that feels like now, and we've done that better than we ever have before. We just have to keep doing the things that we're doing. We have to make our pit crew better. That'll help us a lot. If we do the same things we did last year and we improve on pit road, we'll win more races."

Across the garage, so to speak, Jeff Burton will pilot chassis No. 238 from the Richard Childress Racing stable in the annual season kickoff event. Built new in 2008, this No. 29-turned-31 Chevrolet Impala was driven in a number of races that year, including those at Auto Club Speedway at California in February, Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, as well as the June race at Michigan International Speedway and the fall race at Bristol Motor Speedway. In those five races, Harvick qualified in the top 10 four times and posted three top-10 finishes, his best result being a fourth-place run at Bristol in August. At the completion of the 2008 season, the RCR entry was converted from its original downforce configuration into a superspeedway car. In 2009, Harvick was scheduled to drive this car in the Daytona 500, but a crash during practice forced the team to use a back-up car instead. A couple months later, Harvick and the No. 29 Chevrolet were involved in a multi-car incident just seven laps into the 188-lap event at Talladega Superspeedway and were credited with a 38th-place finish. Serving as a back-up entry for the remaining restrictor-plate events, this racer wouldn't return to competition until the 2010 Budweiser Shootout when Burton drove it to a 12th-place finish.

Burton talked about his teams thought process int he Gatorade Duels on Thursday, and if the team was content to just get the car through the races in one piece. "I think it depends on what you have going on. I think that's going to be the mind-set for most people. If you look at testing this year, there was never a large pack of cars. You would walk through the garage area and ask 'are you guys going to draft?' People say 'no, we're afraid we're going to tear something up.' There's a general consensus that there's going to be a fair amount of wrecks going on at Daytona. You certainly want to be able to put your best piece into the Daytona 500 and, certainly, the car that you qualify is the car that you believe is the best one. There's a fine line between learning and being aggressive. I think the 150's are going to be a great place to learn but, at the same time, it's a race and people are going to try and win."

The Budweiser Shootout will be run in two segments, the first 25 laps and the second a 50-lap sprint for the win. That’s 187.5 miles on the track’s high-banked, repaved, 2.5-mile layout. Following the first segment, a 10-minute “pit stop” gives crews the opportunity to make normal adjustments to their cars. That means tweaks they would do on a normal pit stop during a regular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Other notes: All work must be done on pit road or in the garage; Teams may not change springs, shocks or rear ends; All green- and yellow-flag laps in both segments will count. Following the 10-minute “pit stop,” the event’s second segment remains a 50-lap sprint for the win.

Eligible drivers for this year's event are: John Andretti, Greg Biffle, Geoff Bodine, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Kevin Conway, Derrike Cope, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Joey Logano, Sterling Marlin, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Newman, Ken Schrader, Regan Smith, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip.

Coverage of the Budweiser Shootout will be televised live Saturday, February 6, beginning at 8 p.m. EST on FOX and will be broadcast worldwide on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

Photo Credit: Harvick: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR, Newman :Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

Monday, February 7, 2011

FVP Monday Night All-Star: Dayana

How's that Super Bowl hangover treatin' ya? Thought so. Here's a great cure, the beautiful Dayana, the 2009 cover girl for the Girls of Brazil Calender. Of the lovely Dayana, our friend Jeremiah says "Here beautiful Dayana shows her remarkable good looks. She's not even wearing make up. One in a million for sure!" Agreed. See lots of her over at GoB's facebook page.


What's hot at FVP this week: